The gas-powered V8 isn't dead yet.
The demise of the V8 is not exaggerated, and it starts with cars. The enemy of the naturally-aspirated V8 is the combination of gas prices, equally powerful but more fuel-efficient twin-turbo six-cylinder powerplants, and electric power. The end is coming, but the good news is that if you're buying a car now, a pure V8 without turbos or a supercharger is better than it has ever been. Horsepower is plentiful, and reliability is generally excellent. If you can afford the gas, and your environmental conscience is clear, there's never been a better time to enjoy eight cylinders powering the rear wheels. The bad news is that there isn't much choice. You can find plenty of trucks or SUVs with naturally aspirated V8s, but these are all the coupes and sedans you can buy in 2022.
If you want pure power, you'll likely want to look elsewhere than this stunning piece of art on four wheels. If it's all about the driving experience, you'll want to consider the Lexus LC and its pitch-perfect 5.0-liter V8. We love so many things about the LC 500, but that engine will go down as one of the all-time greats. It makes 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, which isn't mind-blowing. However, it's how it delivers that power that melts our hearts. The LC 500 is a grand tourer, and a grand tourer needs a symphony of sound to complete the experience. If there's a better sounding V8 for a grand-touring car, we haven't heard it. It's a super smooth engine and doesn't reach its horsepower peak until 7,100 rpm - meaning you have every reason to wind it out as you travel cross-country.
The Corvette now packs its V8 behind the driver, and that 6.2-liter V8 makes 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Its power, grip, and handling, firmly lodge the Corvette in the supercar bracket - and for a starting price of just $60,900. However, if bragging amounts of power are important to you, you'll want the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 yet, and, at this point, likely ever. At the time of writing, you can only reserve a Corvette Z06, and dealerships are charging stupid money to do so. Annoyance aside, we're talking 670 hp without a blower, and the cherry on top is that it's a flat-plane crank V8, so it winds out to 8,400 rpm with a legit, non-hyperbolic classic Formula 1 race car howl.
It's been tried, it's been tested, and the Ford Mustang GT still rocks naturally-aspirated V8 power. Starting at $37,545, you'll get a thrilling 450 hp and 420 lb-ft of twist from its 5.0-liter lump in a world-class sports car. Ford's Coyote V8 revs all the way to 7,500 rpm and delivers a 4.3 second 0-60 time. However, the Mustang GT is at its most immersive on the road without the automatic transmission that gets that quick sprint time. You won't keep up with it using the six-speed manual option, but that's not the point. The point is to enjoy driving.
If you want an executive sedan with all the bells and whistles and a naturally aspirated V8, neither BMW nor Mercedes can help you, at least not here in the US. The good news is that Genesis supplies a ride with the smoothness of a silk tie salesman, build quality that impresses, and standard features on a $78,700 sedan that you won't find on an equivalent German. The Genesis 5.0-liter V8 isn't built for speed; its 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque are there mainly for making as little fuss as possible getting up to speed, even if you're in a hurry. It makes more than enough power to push across the city to the next meeting with four tall adults, but if you're feeling uncouth, you can always let the occasional hot hatch feel as small as it is.
If your desire for a naturally aspirated V8 is based on nostalgia, you'll want one of America's last muscle cars. In R/T form, the Challenger comes with a mile-munching 5.7-liter naturally-aspirated V8 producing 375 horsepower for a starting price of $38,680. Lay down some extra cash on an R/T Scat Pack or R/T Scat Pack Widebody, though, and you'll drive away with the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 producing 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The Challenger is truly in a class of one. It doesn't do much particularly well except deliver an old-school experience in a modern world while looking and sounding great. And we love it for that.
If you want your Hemi V8 with four doors and a little more civility than the Challenger, the Dodge Charger is the ticket. It blends muscle car power with a handsome sedan body, and the R/T trim gives you a 5.7-liter naturally-aspirated Hemi V8 with up to 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. If you have more than $47,000 to spend, then you can get that 485 hp/475 lb-ft Hemi V8 engine with the Scat Pack and the Scat Pack Widebody versions. Any which way you dice the Charger R/T, it's never been more fun getting the whole family sideways.
It's not surprising that Lexus isn't letting go of the naturally-aspirated V8 as quickly as BMW and Mercedes. The Lexus 5.0 V8 still deserves to be around. Its power ratings, at 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque in the RC F, is close to the LC 500's, but the RC F isn't designed as a cross country tourer. Instead, it's a fierce yet precise sports coupe that packs a ton of character and style into a dying segment. A BMW M4 Competition is faster, but the RC F is just a different kind of fun, and it's a lot of car for well under $70,000.
Like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet's pony car has engines that aren't a V8, including a surprisingly quick and fun four-cylinder turbo lump. If you want that classic Camaro experience, though, it's all about the 6.2-liter V8 making 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. You can also get a manual transmission to keep things retro but with modern grip and handling chops. Like the Mustang, the Camaro is a world-class sports car, and LT1 and SS trims add that big V8 soundtrack and boot-full of torque. The LT1 starts at $34,000 with a stick shift, and the SS models start at $37,500.
Lexus hasn't offered a V8-powered IS model since the IS F, but, as of this year, you can get a four-door Lexus with its superlative-inducing 5.0-liter V8. The IS 500 is in the same vein as the Dodge Charger R/T models but exudes more style and sophistication. That puts the Lexus IS 500 in the same market as cars like the Acura TLX Type S, Audi S4, BMW M340i, and Mercedes-AMG C43 - none of which sport a naturally aspirated V8 or can deliver a soundtrack to match it. The IS 500 makes 472 hp and 395 lb-ft, shooting the sedan to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
If you like listening to vinyl discs rather than a streaming service, reading a paper book rather than reading on a Kindle, making your coffee in pots rather than with pods, then you'll be happy to know that Chrysler is still making the indefatigable 300 for now. It's showing its age; it drinks gas like it's still cheap, but its swagger is still effortless, and you can option a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine with 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque. It won't blow many other cars off the road, but it makes the Chrysler 300 feel effortless and swanky to drive. Don't buy it because it looks like a Phantom; buy it because it's a Chrysler 300 with eight cylinders under the hood.